The Witchfinder thinks Amanda Preston is a cuddle-wuddle fluffy head.
‘Eyes of a Sociopath’ could be chick-lit. It is about a beautiful young woman on the up and on the make. The difference with this book is that our heroine, Amanda Preston, as the name suggests, is about a clinically diagnosed High Functioning Sociopath. So what is a sociopath?
Well, a sociopath is a person who is on the psychopathic spectrum. Formally, the diagnosis is ‘Dissocial Personality Disorder’ or ‘Anti-Social Personality Disorder’. There is a variety of literature on the subject, some speculating that such people are born, others that they are made (e.g. by an abusive childhood) and still more that it is a mixture.
High Functioning Sociopaths are people, often with superior senses and intelligence, who are charming, capable and lacking in traditional amounts of conscience or remorse. They may succeed in employment, indeed they can be successful journalists or gifted lawyers. Sociopaths are notable for their deep perception and understanding of human emotions and behaviours despite the fact that they do not share the feelings of those around them.
Sociopaths can be extremely persuasive because they are simply skilfully mocking up emotions that other people actually feel. Amanda feels nothing towards those who think she is their friend. She hurts people without remorse and the book describes in detail how as a child she pretends to be friends with a kindly girl called Sara in order to appear more normal. In reality Amanda’s only real urges are to success and to extreme violence. As she grows she lies, cheats, injures and murders.
Amanda’s life has its ups and downs. There is the palpable terror her mother feels towards her after she is diagnosed. Then there are the totally unfair and discriminatory questions when she is suspected of being responsible when her little class friends have accidents.
Later in the book Amanda moves into the world of education (she manipulates others into doing her exams for her) and then work. Working in a law firm she deliberately sabotages her boss’s career whilst pretending to be the woman’s friend. At the same time she goes on ‘business trips’ with senior colleagues in which she sleeps with them, although on one occasion she capriciously tips off the man’s wife.
Amanda’s salary rises exponentially but eventually she is fired after doing something truly vile to an important client’s shoes. Amanda moves on. For a while she is married and has a normal life. This soon breaks down when her husband dies. However before long she is able to overcome adversity and becomes CEO of a major national company by typically underhanded methods.
If you are looking for the insightful prose of C.S. Lewis forget it. The book is a tabloid-esque but nevertheless educational treatment of a rare condition. Not so much shopping-and-fucking as murdering-lying-stealing-manipulating-shopping-and-fucking. The Witchfinder recommends.